The Blazers team that last made the conference finals included Scottie Pippen and Arvydas Sabonis.
The series is delicately poised on a 3-3 mark with the Blazers coming through in a must-win game 6 119-108 and coming through as the -4 home favourites on the National Basketball Association odds board.
But the injury is enough to keep Durant sidelined for the series opener on Wednesday and could also see him miss Game 2 on Thursday.
"I thought our Game 6 here in Portland was better than our Game 6 in San Antonio", Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. And the Nuggets have a higher FGA per games, 3P%, FT%, APG, RPG, and PPG than the Portland Trail Blazers in this series. As the Q1 buzzer sounded, the home side held a slim 33-31 lead. Denver center Nikola Jokic logged 65 minutes on Friday night and then played 39 of the 48 Sunday. The Nuggets surged to an eight-point lead in the second quarter punctuated by a Mason Plumlee cutback dunk.
The beneficiary of that defense has been Lillard's backcourt mate, CJ McCollum. As Portland couldn't continue to score, the Nuggets were up 17 at the half.
Philadelphia hasn't shown much resiliency when things have gotten tough. The Trail Blazers (+195) are worthy of a small-unit bet.
There are five main factors that will decide this series, and we'll explore those below.
These two teams combined for 227 points in game six, which was over the projected point total of 213.
The Nuggets have gone 34-7 at home. As the quarter closed, it was 83-79 in favor of the visitors. Lowry, in particular, has been a force on defence, creating turnovers and bailing his team out with timely offensive rebounds. Rodney Hood had a sweet dunk to extend Portland's lead to six. They can not afford that to happen when Kevin Durant, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson are on the other end of the court.
They've covered two of three games at Scotiabank Arena with an average margin of victory of almost 9 points per game. That's a big problem for Embiid and the Sixers, because if the big man picks up one more flagrant 1 foul, it could ruin Philly's postseason run.
Redick tied it at 85 with a three-point play with 3:29 left.
"To me, this was a message to the 29 other teams in the league that have been waiting for three years for Kevin Durant to leave, the Warriors reminding them - Kevin Durant, even if he does leave, probably is leaving - guess who should be the favorites going into next year?"
NEED TO KNOW: Both teams have a five-point road win already in this series, and the other four games have all been double-digit victories by the home club. Harris hit one of two free throws. Evan Turner didn't attempt a shot in 19 minutes but had seven boards and seven assists, moving the ball well. Lillard nailed another three, but too little, too late.
DURING THE PLAYOFFS: Trail Blazers: Averaging 112.2 points, 45.9 rebounds, 18.5 assists, 7.1 steals and 5.4 blocks per game while shooting 44.3 percent from the field.